Saturday, 31 March 2012

Crime scenes, blisters & 10k musings

On last sunday's long run, the start of my route went through Chaparal Valley as the ice there had finally melted. I came across some yellow tape across the pathway. I'm used to seeing signs and things like that as even the most seemingly minor repairs needed generate law-suit avoiding measures such as barriers, etc. However, seeing "police line - do not cross" made me stop. I went around the edge of the tape to rejoin the pathway and found quite a few police cars there. "Possible crime scene" one of them said when I asked. Later it turned out that a car had been set on fire earlier that morning, with a body inside. No news at the time of writing except that it was a woman in her 70s. Not much else to say really, except be careful out there. I always carry my phone on those long runs, and trust that along with my ability to make a quick getaway, no-one's going to mess with me. More of my attention is usually taken up looking out for coyotes and furious birds in nesting season.
After all that, it was a fairly pleasant 24k run though blustery. It was a reminder that the heels are vulnerable to blisters during longer runs. Both feet and shoes expand and contract over the course of a run, and my smaller right foot ended up getting a blister on the heel. It's a reminder to me that I need to have a couple of band aids ready on marathon day, which now seems close at 8 weeks away.

3 weeks until the Spring Trio 10k - the McMillan calulator suggests 40:20 based on my recent 5k. In hindsight I did hold back slightly during that race. My 5 mile time from last October predicts 38:54. I think I will pace myself to get just inside the magic 40 minutes. The course is an out and back along the Bow river. The mild gradient will mean the net downhill section will be the second half, and if windy it'll most likely be a following wind on the way back too. A sub-40 10k has always seemed harder than a sub-90 half to me, but am I just saying that as I haven't beaten the former yet?

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Saint Patrick's 5k Race Report!

"I'll take a PB if it's there, but anything under 20 minutes will be fine," I said to my chiropractor a couple of days before the St Patrick's race. "You know you'll just end up going for the PB," he said. 
He knows me well. This is my 3rd time at this race, though I chose the 5k this time, prefering my next 10k on a flatter course. Top 10 looked possible on the strength of last year's times.
I got into the St Patrick's spirit a little for the first time ever, my green top being right for the +1 temperature. There were some great costumes, like the guy above in 100% green. My favourite was the "Guiness Batman" (no picture unfortunately).

The 10k race started first - might be the first time I've watched a race start before mine. Putting myself in the front row, I noticed a few shirts with "UCAC" on them - University of Calgary Athletics Club. No win today...
Off like a shot - glad I got the heart rate up beforehand.
Previous PB was 19:48, so I set my garmin to pace me between 3:55 and 4:03, to get me within reach.

A splendid dog-marshall.
At 1.5k, and a downhill section, the 2 leading ladies drew level with me, so I joined them and the guy I'd passed just before.
Even though I always study the course map beforehand, I didn't notice the other 3 moving from my left to my right and then I somehow mistook where the marshall was standing, and kept going straight on until the middle of the junction when one of the ladies said "turn right?" almost as if I were the only one going the right way. I must have leant over at quite an angle seeing where my hand is in front of the camera lens. "Glad someone knows the way!" I said. No response from the others, strong silent types..
Around the corner on the lead down to the turnaround, all 3 of them slowed down enough for my watch to bleep "pace low", so I moved ahead and into the top 10. "I dropped them!"

Helly Visser!

Back up the hill, and joined by some of the 10k runners made me feel a touch slow in comparison. Learning to read my condition in during a 5k and a 10k has taken a while. I let my pace drop a touch here as I felt my lungs trying to breathe in more air than they could expand to. It also helps if you know the PB is already in the bag - I passed the 4 k sign around 15:35, and the rest was a finish-friendly downhill. Exciting for me to know, though by now that great dog was bored to sleep.

I believe I was the first 5k runner wearing green to come into view at the top of the hill, easy to spot.

So, a time of 19:25, a PB by 23 seconds. Quite a surprise to find my biggest weakness, overall speed, is still improving. 9th place overall, and 2nd in my age group.

First km quickest, the .03 is probably down to my Mr Bean moment.
My age group "podium" got me a nice beer glass. A nice change, and although I look quite frazzled in this photo, I'm loving 2012 after a curtain-raiser like this :)

Here's the headcam video!

Friday, 2 March 2012

A dream of spring...

I took  the day off today (friday), so did my tempo run from home. There's a major road junction that I cross on the route I take in winter, the way round it is icy and then water-logged at the start of the year. It was +2 degrees, so I went in my warmest shorts. "That's one way to celebrate March!" a lady said to me as I ran past.

I finally got a photograph of one of few eagles I often see scouting the fields for mice. After this, I started my first of four 5 minute repeats. It felt very doable, not a struggle to keep pace at all. I did the warm up and cool down very slowly as a precaution - my right hip felt tight after wednesday's 10x2 minute speed session. It felt good at the start of today, and feels a touch tight now though better than wednesday.
I'm gaining a grasp of when to run anyway, or when to use "Bike Replacement Therapy" as I call it. It's easy to replicate on the bike because my speed and tempos are time-based, and it does not bring with it a drop in performance - my half marathon and 5-mile PBs, both set last October, were set having done BRT for a few weeks beforehand. The St Patrick's Day race - doing the 5k - is in 15 days, so I won't hesitate to do it again if needed. I'm not specifically going for a PB, though I'll set my watch to put me there or thereabouts and will take it if it's on the cards for that day. It'll be great to be at an event again, I love raceday.